I'm brand spanking new to drying foods but did a bunch of Roma tomatoes that are delicious. Can I safely packed them in olive oil? What about botulism?

Thanks for the help.

P.S. The parsley I dried is out of this world. You can't buy stuff this good.

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i havne't done it but if you mean storing in a bottle of olive oil, i think you can. i've seen other things stored in oils and then given the oil flavor.

i stored mine vaccume sealed on the basement shelf.
Great question, Dave. Packing foods in oil does not prevent botulism. In fact in 1989, there was a rash of botulism cases in Kingston, NY from people storing commercially prepared garlic in oil. Remember botulism spores grow in moist, low acid, anaerobic environments, so veggies in oil create a favorable medium for spore growth. Now commercially prepared foods packed in oil are acidified first as part of the processing.

The Master Home Preserving book has this reference (be sure to scroll down for the info on veggies in oil). I recommend reading the whole piece to get the proper context, but it does say that dried tomatoes are less of a hazard if refrigerated after processing, But it doesn't say specifically for how long you should store them that way.

To be safe, I'd just store veggies in oil for use within 10 days. If it were my household, I'd keep my bulk stores dry and then rehydrate small batches in oil in the frig and enjoy without the anxiety!
I concur-- partly because I have found that the best dried tomatoes in oil are those that are slightly rehydrated in hot water prior to going into the olive oil. BTW- if the slightly-solid olive oil straight from the fridge seems a problem to you, just a few seconds in the microwave will completely fix the situation.
Thanks to all. Katie, that was an excellent resource. I keep the tom's refrigerated (not in oil though) now and they seem to be staying fine. I'll experiment with the tom's/oil and see what happens.
We keep ours in oil in the fridge because that's what we heard would keep away botulism. So far so good. Just ate a bunch from the summer batch last night. That said, I'm going to read the research that Katie suggested. We have also kept dried toms in the freezer (not in oil) and that worked well. I would really like to have the confidence to dry them and just keep them on the shelf, but so far I don't. Anybody have tips on how to do it with confidence? Vacuum seal?

Thanks for the heads up. I kept them in the fridge in two ziplocks. One went moldy but the other was fine. I'm still new at this dehydrator thing and want to be careful thus the question. I have to think that the Italians who dry tomatoes all the time know something I don't. If only I could talk to the old Sicilian man I knew 40 years ago! He sundried his and lived until 90+.


Thanks for the post

I am having good success keeping dry toms in pantry in regular jars. Conditioning before packing helps. Conditioning is making sure all the moisture is out. To condition, leave the just-dried produce loosely covered for 4 or more days, & stir or shake daily while checking for mold.

   What is "loosely covered"? It can range from spreading stuff in a single layer on a towel and covering with another one to placing it in a jar and covering with net rather than lid.  Depends on how wet it still seems & your fruit fly population. I believe I put my tomatoes right in the jars under net and shook them daily for a week.



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